When Lloyd, Ball State’s furry friend, was struck by a car, his owner wasn’t expecting the widespread response from the community to ensure his well being.
At around 5 p.m. Friday, Ball State student Caroline Hileman called the cat’s owner to tell her that Lloyd, the cat who hangs around the LaFollette and Johnson Complexes, had been hit.
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“I was walking back from dinner with a couple of friends, and I saw a crowd around the truck, and someone said Lloyd had gotten hit,” Hileman said.
The junior fine arts major said Lloyd didn’t look too badly hurt but was bleeding a little from his mouth. There was somebody under the truck with him, but Lloyd didn’t want to move. She then called the owner, Jody Mason, to have her come over.
“What we’ve been able to piece together is that he was chasing a chipmunk, and he darted out kind of right into a car that was coming down the lane along the cow path behind LaFollette,” Mason said.
Mason then took Lloyd to Care Animal Hospital in Muncie where the veterinarians took x-rays and performed an initial check up. He was then referred to VCA Northwood Animal Hospital in Anderson, Indiana, for follow-up care.
Saturday evening, Lloyd underwent a minor procedure at Northwood, where veterinarians anesthetized him and fed him medicine and nutrition via an esophageal tube due to a soft tissue injury inside his mouth, she said.
After evaluating his jaw, his cheek was stitched up, and he no longer required a feeding tube, she said in a Facebook message. The bottom portion of his jaw was stabilized using a wire. For now, she said, he will not be requiring any further surgeries and is planned to be returning home Monday.
As of Sunday morning, he was "moving his mouth and licking his lips," Mason said in a Facebook post.
The community’s response:
Following the huge response Mason received online and from students who called her up, she set up a GoFundMe page for people who wished to support covering medical costs incurred due to Lloyd’s injury.
“It’s overwhelming,” she said, crediting the community’s response. “I think it speaks volumes about the students at Ball State and how much they value something as simple as a cat who loves people. He provides a comfort to them, and also they provide that for him because he loves the interaction.”
Lloyd, she said, has always been a social cat — “He is unhappy if he can’t go outside, and he found a place where he could find all the people he wanted, whenever he wanted.”
Mason said Lloyd, who is generally cautious and keeps out of trouble, will probably be a little more cautious following the injury.
“[Friday] was an anomaly,” she said. “I know some people won’t approve of letting pets roam outside. We see what makes him happy because he literally becomes distressed if he [stays] inside.”
While acknowledging the risks of letting Lloyd roam around outside freely, Mason said, "You can only keep [him] in a bubble so long."
“I think we will probably be careful reintroducing him back outside,” she said. “We may, if he won’t tolerate staying in, go to scheduled outings over on campus.”
If there was an extensive surgery needed on his face — a worst-case scenario — it might have costed upwards of $4,000, she said. The costs of his care and x-rays Friday is estimated at more than $700, and additional costs of the minor procedure Saturday is being determined.
As of 3 p.m. Sunday, the GoFundMe page showed more than $2,200 was raised of the $4,000 goal by more than 120 people. If donations exceed the amount needed, Mason said, it will be used to help other cats who need it.
Mason said she was thankful and appreciative of the community’s support, especially crediting college students who offered to cover Lloyd’s medical bills.
After returning home, she said, Lloyd will be wearing a cone of shame, and his siblings — Eddie and Muffin — “will harass him appropriately.”
This story will be updated.
Contact Rohith Rao with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RaoReports.